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UPDATE: Accident takes life of Terre Haute man

Monday, December 22, 2008

A single-vehicle accident early Sunday morning led the death of a Terre Haute man.

According to a press release provided Clay County Sheriff's Department Deputy/K-9 Handler Brison Swearingen, at approximately 3:30 a.m., Sunday, officials were dispatched to a rollover accident on County Road 800 North, just west of State Road 59.

Upson arrival, officials discovered a 2002 Chevrolet Monte Carlo had left the roadway on the south side of the road and rolled until it came to a stop in a nearby field.

The driver of the vehicle, Michael Mornout, 29, Terre Haute, was ejected from the vehicle.

The passenger's in the vehicle, Harry Stemm, 30, Brazil, and Brian Eder, 25, Carbon, were restrained in the vehicle.

The three were transported by TransCare to St. Vincent Clay Hospital. Both Stemm and Eder were treated for undisclosed injuries and later released.

Mornout was transported via LifeLine to Methodist Hospital, Indianapolis, where he was pronounced dead.

According to the press release, alcohol and speed are suspected to be the cause of the accident, but the accident is still under investigation by the sheriff's department.

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Hey last time I knew Harry Stemm is Brazil City detective, Todd Stemm's brother. Looks as if maybe Todd needs to sweep his own family's porch and teach him about about drinking and driving or drinking and riding before arresting other people's. I hope that Harry does recover well. Regardless, it is still tragic.

-- Posted by ape1 on Mon, Dec 22, 2008, at 7:23 AM

We are not our brothers keeper. Unless you use the logic of an ape.

-- Posted by george1 on Mon, Dec 22, 2008, at 7:45 AM

-- Posted by george1 on Mon, Dec 22, 2008, at 7:45 AM

If you do not know Harry personally I would not be saying anything. They are not blood and barely speak. Harry is a good person. And I can't believe you would even post negative things when he just lost his best friend and is hurt enough.

-- Posted by SKCC on Mon, Dec 22, 2008, at 8:43 AM

Ditto to SKCC and ape1...you're an excellent example of why I left Brazil when I grew up and never moved back. Thanks for showing us all that ignorance is alive and well.

-- Posted by gingersnap13 on Mon, Dec 22, 2008, at 9:01 AM

You don't even make any sense. Ditto about what? Who's to say I even live in Brazil? Know what you are even talking about before you run your mouth.

-- Posted by SKCC on Mon, Dec 22, 2008, at 10:00 AM

Well its christmas and my opinion is its time to stop running your mouths negatively about other people. I know Harry and yes people make mistakes in lives but Harry is a kind hearted man who once lived with us. I would think some of you bad mouthers had some chrsitams spirit and would keep negativity to yourselves. This is truely sad especially right before christmas to go thru this. As far as his brother being a detective .....does it matter really....no sibling is to babysit another....Merry Christmas!

-- Posted by mom of3 on Mon, Dec 22, 2008, at 10:48 AM

Wow ape1...your posts just keep getting better and better. Drinking and riding..?? Is that illegal in the state of Indiana now Mr. Ape?

-- Posted by Pro Se on Mon, Dec 22, 2008, at 11:04 AM

Pro Se,

Since you know the laws of Indiana, is it not illegal to be in public and be drinking? If you step outside your door after drinking you can go to jail for PI. I do feel very bad for Harry and his other friend but regardless they knew what could happen while they were out drinking and driving around. They could have killed mine or your child, parents, or loved one. It maybe a cold thing to say but at least if someone had to get injured and killed it was the fools that made the choice to drink and drive that got it instead of a innocent person. I do know Harry, and he is very sweet but I hope this will open his eyes and he will not ever choose this kind of behavior again. I could understand it more if those guys were teens or young adults, but they all were old enough to know way better. They choose to risk everyone else's life, now they will have to pay the mental consequences.

I know you can't be your brother's keeper, but it goes to show you that drugs and alcohol affect everyone and we all need to try help these people instead of shutting our eyes and trying to lock everyone up. Everyone's family always has a black sheep and it's time that people stop pretending that they live in glass houses and start trying to help all of these people.

I personally think that Harry and the other guy needs to go talk to teens and other students about what happend. I like Harry and although it was bad timing, he made that choice and now he will pay the consequences whether it be legally or mentally.

-- Posted by ape1 on Mon, Dec 22, 2008, at 11:34 AM

I'm aware of the Indiana PI law; but usually it only applies to people who are drunk and disorderly; if not the police could camp outside local bars and nab everyone who walks out onto the sidewalk. I myself don't drink, but you can't put people down for choosing not to drive; although if the driver was drunk I would say Harry and Brian made bad choices as to letting their friend drive intoxicated. I am all against drinking and driving I think it is one of the worst choices you can make, but at a time like this I don't think it is right to put Harry down for "drinking and riding." But like said I hope next time they choose to not let their friend drive drunk..if he indeed was.

-- Posted by Pro Se on Mon, Dec 22, 2008, at 11:53 AM

Right under your comments this site asks you to be respectful of others and stay on the topic. Wow some missed that. First time reader and responder here. I want to start by saying that Mike was my best friend. Harry and Brian are good friends of mine as well. I understand peoples views on drinking and driving and anyone you meet will tell you its wrong. A good thing is that Harry and Brian has good friends like me and others that will stick by his side and pull them through this really hard time. I believe it will be life changing for them as well as it has for me. What they don't deserve no matter what choices they made that night was for people to judge there character. I am very close to everyone involved and no matter what decisions they have made they didn't deserve to loose there and my friend. That is what this story is about. The fact that a good man lost his life. My best friend, a loving father, and just a great all around person. Its not about judging someone for the decisions. All I am asking is to please watch your comments. Granted most that respond is your average joe that probably respond to a lot of stories but you never know when there is a family member or close friend of these three guys reading the story and scroll down to see peoples comments. Brian and Harry hang in there and we will get through this by sticking together. RIP Mike. Love you Bro!

-- Posted by Reader11 on Mon, Dec 22, 2008, at 12:21 PM

-- Posted by Reader11 on Mon, Dec 22, 2008, at 12:22 PM

First time responder! I tried to post one but I don't know that I did it right. This is to get my message out there. I want to start by saying that Mike was my best friend and I am also a close friend of Brian and Harry's. I understand and respect peoples views on drinking and driving and if you ask anyone they would tell you that its wrong. However, don't use this story as a subject to point out and go on and on about disagreement of drinking and driving. Everyone that is close with the involved are going through a hard time including me and we don't deserve negative comments about our loved friends and family. No one has the right to judge someones character and express there thoughts through the public eye. Granted they were putting others in danger but they didn't want this to happen. I from time to time will read stories on here and read peoples responses and the majority don't seem to know the ones involved. Just want you to be aware that its one thing to know someone and its another to be close to them. Please show some respect and stick to the topic like it tells you to do before you post your comments and thoughts cause you never know when the next to open and read this story is actually a family member or close friend like myself. Brian and Harry, we just have to be strong and stick together. Mike, I love you like a brother and you will always be my best friend. Through all the tears and mixed emotions there is one thing that brings a smile to my face. The fact that you are back with your momma. Rest in Peace! As for all other friends and family my heart goes out to you and will be right there doing what I can do to help.

-- Posted by Reader11 on Mon, Dec 22, 2008, at 12:57 PM

Please stop all of these horrible comments & stop arguing. We lost a dear friend & we will never get to see him again--what is wrong with you?? Don't you people realize that?? We lost him--quit arguing about things that do not matter. I remember him as wonderful, so fun to be around, a hugger, great family that would take anyone in and always Tic Tacs while smoking...

-- Posted by C37 on Mon, Dec 22, 2008, at 3:52 PM


I can't believe that anyone would even link Detective Stemm to this. That's horrible that you would even mention his name on the comments. He had nothing to do with this accident. If Harry was his brother or not, Todd he has his own family to look after. How ridiculous? Sometimes people are a lost cause.


As far as public intoxication here is the law for that:

IC 7.1-5-1-3

Public intoxication prohibited

Sec. 3. It is a Class B misdemeanor for a person to be in a public place or a place of public resort in a state of intoxication caused by the person's use of alcohol or a controlled substance (as defined in IC 35-48-1-9).


-- Posted by Criminology08 on Mon, Dec 22, 2008, at 6:17 PM

My heart goes out to the family in this tragic accident. They have the loss of a family member and to make it worse it's around the holidays. Every Christmas from now on will bring back the memory of their loss. But the driver of the car is the person responsible for their pain. Seems to me that he broke three laws, drinking and driving, speeding and not wearing a seat belt and he paid for those choices with his life. Life is tough and it's even tougher when you're stupid. If there is any good side to this story it's the fact that only the individual who caused the accident was killed instead of an innocent person who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. If I was one of the other two guys I would get down on my knees and thank God for a second chance.

-- Posted by Ventuno on Tue, Dec 23, 2008, at 7:45 AM


I'll see him again and I didn't even know him. I do know that if one believes in Jesus and lives by God's Word, they WILL be reunited with those who have passed and also believed in the Lord, Jesus Christ as their Savior at the time of their death here on earth.

(John 11:26 NIV)

-- Posted by Dagnabbit on Tue, Dec 23, 2008, at 11:23 AM

Harry is a very decent man, and he is not on trial....right. Leave him and his friend alone, they have been through enough.

-- Posted by tabbie0658 on Tue, Dec 23, 2008, at 11:34 AM

i spoke to my brother about that whole night and he is very sorry for what happened he is blaming himself so please be respectful and let him deal with it. he lost more then anyone knows him and mike were friends for a very long time.RIP Micheal

-- Posted by edward4173 on Tue, Dec 23, 2008, at 8:14 PM

I haven't seen Michael or Harry for over a year. I am very shocked about the accident. My heart goes out to his friends and family. The three of us spent a lot of time together growing up. I am sorry I didn't get to see him before the accident. I love both of them very much as friends. Michael will definitely be missed! If Harry is reading this comment or anyone who knows Harry, please give him my email address. brandee2378@yahoo.com

-- Posted by brandee2378 on Sun, Dec 28, 2008, at 1:28 AM

i have you all in my prayers just hold on and be strong dont let yourselves down take care and be careful

-- Posted by tylera1989 on Mon, Jan 5, 2009, at 7:55 PM

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